Meet a grocery store fanatic

There are plenty of critics of the notion of passion when it comes to employment. We’re looking at you, Mike Rowe, who’s made a good living following his.

So we were heartened to read a sweet little story today in the Kanabec County Times about Donald Erickson, whose passion is grocery stores.

Erickson, described as having high functioning Asperger’s, loves grocery stores. He started a Facebook group dedicated to the topic.

A few years ago, he met Liz Nerud, the “cheese lady” at the time at Lund’s and Byerly’s in Minneapolis, and they hit it off.

Many thanks to everyone who shared their day with us today. We are always so amazed at the pride people have in their…

Posted by Elizabeth Nerud on Friday, November 2, 2018

Now, they tour grocery stores — up to nine a day, according to the Times — and when they show up they’re rather the rock stars of the industry.

According to Liz, Donald’s knowledge about the grocery store business is unmatched. “Donald can tell you the square footage of most stores in the area off the top of his head. He knows the store managers as well as department heads.”

Jan Wilcox, who has been in the grocery business for over 33 years and is currently the customer service manager at Kowalski’s in Woodbury recalls being contacted by Donald. “He asked a lot of questions and I was amazed at Donald’s knowledge about the grocery store industry, he then let on to me that he and Liz would be visiting my store.

I got our awesome cake decorator to make him a special birthday cake for his visit, and that was just the beginning. I asked my store director at the time to meet Donald and Liz and give them a royal tour, unfortunately I was unable to be there. But I made sure Donald got to see things nobody may even realize are in the grocery store.”

Jan finally met Donald in person when Liz and he came on a tour of the Woodbury Kowalski’s. “I arranged it so he would get a gift basket when he got there and made sure that Mike Oase, our chief operation officer, was there to greet him as well. I had told Mike that in his spare time Donald designs layouts of stores as a hobby.”

Last June, Donald got a job. He works at Cub.

How do you like them apples, Mike Rowe?